Skip to main content

Full text of "A history of Persia"

See other formats

to a French army in an invasion of India. The heading
to this chapter demonstrates the far-reaching scope of
Napoleon's scheme, and corroboration was received from
Constantinople that the Porte had been approached with
a view to the passage of a French army across the Ottoman
dominions. Meanwhile the convention of Tilsit had
been signed almost at the same time, and it is generally
believed that the partition of the East was discussed by
Napoleon and the Tsar Alexander at their historical
meeting; the fact that the French Emperor intended to
appoint his brother Lucien to represent him at Teheran
proves that he, at any rate, seriously intended to contest
British supremacy in India.
Fath Ali was deeply chagrined by the convention of
Tilsit. The restoration of Georgia, for which he had
hoped, was not even mentioned in it, and since France
had by its terms made peace with Russia friendly offices
had to take the place of a French army. Nevertheless
Napoleon, whose optimism was remarkable, undoubtedly
hoped to conclude an offensive and defensive alliance with
The Fight for Power in Afghanistan^ 1799-1808.óWe
must now turn to Afghanistan in order to record a fight
for power which, together with the rise of Ranjit Singh,
changed the whole situation and caused the Afghan peril
to pass away. Zaman Shah owed his position to the
support of Sirdar Payanda Khan, who had espoused his
cause and seated him on the throne of Kabul. As was
almost inevitable in Afghanistan, the Sirdar after a time
fell into disfavour, plotted against his master, and was
executed. He left behind him twenty-two sons, famous
as the <c Barakzai brothers," the eldest of whom, Fath
Khan, fled to Persia and joined Mahmud, brother of
Zaman Shah, whom he persuaded to make a bid for the
throne. Farrah was in the first place seized and, thanks
to the aid given by the Barakzais, Kandahar subsequently
fell. Mahmud then advanced on Kabul, and in 1800
defeated Zaman Shah, whom he blinded. The wretched
man escaped in the end to Ludhiana, where he was granted
a pension by the Honourable East India Company.